Low insurance policy prices are forcing Saudi hospitals into bankruptcy, according to Sobhi Batterjee
The Saudi Government must do more to regulate insurance companies and ensure that low priced insurance policy prices don’t lead to the bankruptcy of hospitals, according to Sobhi Batterjee, the Chairman of Saudi German Hospital Group.
Health insurance companies have "become a main player” in the Saudi healthcare sector which sometimes ends up deciding the fate of hospitals and whether they survive or go bankrupt, adding that insurance companies have been pressuring hospitals to lower prices due to their purchasing power, Batterjee said in an interview with Arabian Business Arabic.
He said this has resulted in an exodus of smaller players in the healthcare sector and he called on regulators to step in to control and balance this tenuous relationship, since even insurance companies are falling victims to these practices, leading to bankruptcy.
"We demand stability in the work of health insurance companies. That could be accomplished by setting an acceptable minimum insurance policy price,” he added, according to Arabian Business.
Around 30 health insurance companies are currently competing for Saudi market share and Batterjee said driving prices down to achieve this could damage their industry and the healthcare sector in the long run. He added that the situation is similar, though to a lesser extent, in other GCC markets, but ultimately the healthcare sectors across all markets are heading towards facing the same challenges.
He added that Saudi citizens will soon be covered by insurance in hospitals run by the Ministry of Health that are soon to be privatised, and the only option for family businesses in the healthcare sector, or any other sectors, is to go public to survive, Arabian Business reported.